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Miguel San Martin
Lead Software Designer
Mars Exploration Rovers mission
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

P2K: What is it that gets you charged, that gets you excited when you come into work in the morning to do the next day's hard work?

Miguel San Martin: Well, we love this stuff. Sometimes we complain... when we have deadlines, and tough schedules, but really, for most of us, this is almost a religious experience, I have to say. We wouldn't be here otherwise. Most of us are passionate about this since we were kids, and it's a dream for us to be able to work (on such missions.) We feel privileged, actually, to be part of this mission. And when we're going through these difficult times, we just think about the day that we actually get to fly this thing, and come EDL, and I get that first picture of Mars, even though, at most - I mean, there are so many people that work on this thing - that when you get that first picture you can only claim a small part, just a very few pixels of that picture you can claim credit for. Still, it makes it all worthwhile, because we are all part of a team, and just being able to say that you made this small contribution in this big endeavor, still, it's a great thrill for all of us.

P2K: Is it as much fun working on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission as it was to work on Pathfinder?

Miguel San Martin: It's a lot of fun. Comparisons are always difficult. It's a different flavor. There are some new pressures that we have in this mission because of the past failures, that make it a little bit sometimes less than enjoyable. But from the challenge I still think it's as enjoyable as Pathfinder. Just landing on Mars is just a wonderful thing. We just enjoy doing it. The challenge is there. I think this is a hard challenge but it's a fair challenge, and one that we all enjoy trying to meet; it was the same way in Pathfinder.

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